Pre-Columbian, South Coast Peru, Nazca, ca. 100 to 300 CE. A gorgeous hand-built pottery jar of elegant form with a rounded yet stable base and impressively thin walls that spread outwards to a bulbous body and then inwards to a steep shoulder and brief neck that slightly flares outwards at its annular rim. Boasting a lustrous burnish, this lovely ancient vessel is glazed in a brilliant shade of maroon with 2 slender white rings along the body, which flank a row of 8 stylized stingrays, each composed of a black circle with an extended point for a tail, a red vertical stripe, 4 feet with 4 toes, 2 circular eyes, and an ovoid mouth. All of these adorable creatures are separated from one another by vertical painted lines of crimson. Size: 6.375" in diameter x 4.75" H (16.2 cm x 12.1 cm)
The stingray was sensibly feared by ancient Andean cultures as its dorsal spine could be utilized as a lethal weapon when the creature was provoked. The sharp edges and points of stingray tails meant they were highly valued as blood-letters during sacrificial rituals, and the potent venom was coveted by hunters and shamans alike. The bloodletting practice was believed to release the ephemeral spiritual energy of the living vessel into the cosmos to aid in sustaining and preserving its growth. Ergo, the stingray embodied a characteristic Pre-Columbian belief in the duality between its deadly capabilities as well as its life-affirming qualities.
Provenance: private Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA collection; ex-William Godferey, Jr. collection, Beloit College, Wisconsin, USA, acquired in the 1950s to 1960s
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Repaired from several pieces with some crack lines visible. Expected surface wear, including minor nicks/chips and lightly abraded areas, commensurate with age. Otherwise, very nice with excellent remaining pigments.